Bank panic in Estonia

Claire Murphy

ESTONIA will become the first former Soviet republic to join the euro tomorrow.

Huge queues formed outside Estonian banks today, with many people wrongly worried they will no longer be able to use the kroon currency after the switch to the euro on January 1. The Baltic country, which joined the European Union in 2004, will formally join the euro zone tomorrow as the world rings in the New Year.

A bank official said today that the queues indicated people were misinformed about the currency switch: "It seems that many people have failed to understand that they can still pay with kroons during first two weeks of January and after that they can change their kroons into euros in commercial banks throughout 2011."